The cottages4you guide to cottage holidays

A cottage sceneThe following information is intended as a guide to cottage holidays. Further information can be found under important information page or on our frequently asked questions page.

All cottage holidays sold by cottages4you are self catering meaning there will be adequate facilities at the cottage for you to prepare your own meals. If you prefer to eat out, the cottage owner or key-holder will be able to direct you to nearby restaurants/pubs/cafes etc..


We will provide you with directions to your cottage and if you are travelling to a cottage in another country, we can help you book ferry crossings, flights and car hire, however we cannot transport you directly to the cottage.

When you arrive at your cottage, you will find that it has been cleaned and prepared, ready for you to begin you holiday. On a cottage holiday you have the freedom to tailor your own break. Freedom is a unique part of a cottage holiday experience, and for many people it's a great excuse to spend time exploring the area and meeting the friendly locals! You will find a guide to events and places of interest, and the owner or key-holder will be close at hand if you need any help or advice.

Important information about your cottage holiday

Beautiful countrysideThe following information has been provided for your assistance and safety and we recommend that you read this information in conjunction with our Booking Conditions.

Whether you're planning a short break or a longer holiday, you'll be looking forward to the experience.Here are the answers to many of the questions that are asked…everything from when to arrive to how to care for the environment when you're there.Please note that many of these comments apply to both UK and overseas destinations - if there are significant differences, this is stated. We've tried to cover the most common questions asked though, obviously, you may have some questions which only the property's owner can answer.If so, simply contact them on the number you'll find in your booking confirmation pack.


Arriving & departing

Except for short breaks, all bookings run weekly from Saturday to Saturday, unless otherwise stated. When you have paid for your holiday in full, you will be sent details of how to find your property and where to collect the keys on arrival. Please advise the owner or caretaker of your estimated arrival time, which should normally be after 3pm (any variance to this will be advised at the time of booking).

On your departure day, you are required to leave your property by 10am. This is to allow the owner or caretaker sufficient time to prepare the property for the next arrivals.

Passports

If you are planning to travel to a destination outside the UK, please ensure you familiarise yourself with the relevant passport and visa requirements for your destination. It is your responsibility to ensure that all members of your party, including any children, have a valid passport and visa (where appropriate). Please also be aware that if you are flying within the UK or to the Republic of Ireland you will require photo identification. For all non-UK destinations, UK residents should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card and carry this with them. For more details, please the relevant Booking Conditions.

Gardens & Parking Facilities

Many properties have gardens where you can enjoy peace and privacy. Most properties also offer space for off-road parking; details are stated in the property description. If a property has on-road parking, please note that we cannot guarantee availability of such parking. If you require an enclosed garden suitable for children and pets, please check with your holiday adviser when you book, or use the search facility on our website. You must not leave children or pets unsupervised in the garden.

Cleaning

All properties are cleaned between lets so all you have to do when you get there is unpack and put the kettle on. In the UK and Ireland there is no extra charge for cleaning, unless extra, heavy cleaning is required after you leave, or you do not leave the property and its contents as you found them. In other countries a cleaning charge may apply.

A cottage sceneSleeping Arrangements, Bed linen & towels

Property descriptions show the “ideal” number that a property will sleep, based on a maximum of one or two people in a room. If a property also shows a higher capacity (shown by “4+2” or “4-6”), this means extra people can be accommodated in additional sleeping arrangements (for example extra beds in a bedroom or sofa beds). Under no circumstances may more than the maximum number of persons indicated occupy a property.

Most property owners provide linen at no extra charge, and this is stated in the brochure description. If linen is supplied at the property, this does not include cot linen - you should bring linen for cots in all cases (including pillows and blankets or duvets).

Some property owners prefer to hire their bed linen and/or towels. Bed linen can be hired at £4 per person per week. Towels can be hired at £2 per person per week. If bed linen and towels are hired together then a charge of £4 per person per week will apply. If you want to hire bed linen or towels, you must remember to request this at the time of booking. Charges made overseas in Euros may be in excess of these rates.

Mains electricity

The voltage of electricity in Ireland is the same as in the UK and plugs are the same. For other overseas destinations both the voltage and plugs may be different and you will require travel adapters, which are widely available.

Fuel and Water

In most cases, there is no additional charge for electricity, gas, heating, water or other fuels.

Where charges are made this is detailed in the property description. Sometimes the charge is using a slot or card meter, so please check and if necessary have a supply of coins with you. Water heating may form part of a general charge for heating, and hence a small charge for water heating may be levied even in the summer months.

Security Deposits

The vast majority of our UK properties do not make any additional charges.

However, you may be required to make a payment of a security deposit in cash in local currency on arrival at your accommodation. The amount will be advised to you before you book and will be shown on your confirmation.

Televisions and other facilities

All properties (unless otherwise stated) have a cooker and a fridge.

All properties (unless otherwise stated) have at least one television that receives terrestrial channels, and therefore channels local to the relevant destination. Additional channels may be available where satellite, freeview or cable television is listed in the property description.

Properties with character

If you choose to holiday in an older property, remember that much of its character and charm is due to its age. Many of the properties featured are over 100 years old and were built before the days of damp-proof courses and cavity insulation. Bear this in mind if you're planning to take an elderly person or very young children on your holiday, especially if it's going to be between October and April. Also, please remember that should traditional cottage features (steep stairs or low beams, for example) be a problem for any member of your party, you must mention this when you call to book.

In rural locations, people around you will often be earning their living and country hours can run into the late evening and very early morning. So be tolerant when it comes to sounds and scents - it's all part of being in the country! It's also worth remembering that because all the properties in our brochure are privately owned, they are decorated and furnished according to the individual owner's tastes.

Pets

Many properties featured on our website or in our brochure accept pets from as little as £25 per pet, per week or short break.

The property description shows when pets are accepted by the property owner. Some properties allow more than one pet and this will also be noted in the property description. Please note that certain dog breeds are subject to the owner's approval. Please also see our booking conditions.

If you are taking your pet with you, you must:

  • Please keep your pets off the furniture.
  • Please exercise your pets outside the garden.
  • Please remove pet hairs from carpets before you leave.
  • Please don’t leave your pets unattended in the property or garden.
  • Please do not allow pets upstairs or in the bedrooms.

It is stated in the property details when pets are not permitted at a property. However, registered assistance dogs are allowed in all properties featured on our website or in our brochure, even where the property description states that pets are not allowed. Customers with allergies should be aware that we cannot guarantee that an assistance dog has not stayed in a chosen property recently or that the property owner has a dog that sometimes occupies the property. We cannot accept responsibility for any suffering which may occur as a result of such animals having been present.

If you are travelling to a destination outside the UK, it is your responsibility to ensure that, if you want to take your pet with you, you familiarize yourself with the relevant information about Pet Passports, etc, and that you make all the necessary arrangements through your vet well before departure.

Special requirements

We'll do everything we can to help those in your party with special requirements by suggesting properties that are especially suitable - just let us have all relevant information at the time of booking.

Many property owners offer cots free of charge, but please note, property owners who provide cot and high chair facilities may not necessarily offer other infant equipment. Please check with your holiday adviser when booking.

Easy walking access: A visitor using a walking aid should have no difficulty in gaining access to the principal rooms (sitting room, dining room, kitchen, one of the bedrooms, a toilet and a bathroom or shower room) and the garden of a property described in this way.

We feature a number of properties which have no internal stairs or steps or have at least one bedroom and one bathroom on the ground floor. Please ensure at the time of booking that the property matches your individual needs, particularly relating to access to the property and garden. Simply call us and we'll be happy to give you further details.

Look out for the no stairs symbol which will help you select suitable properties, or you can use the online search facility at our website.

Some properties participate in the VisitBritain National Accessible Scheme, reflecting the practical needs of wheelchair users, and are graded from levels 1 to 4.

Level 1 - typically suitable for a person with sufficient mobility to climb a flight of steps but would benefit from points of fixtures and fittings to aid balance.

Level 2 - typically suitable for a person with restricted walking ability and for those that may need to use a wheelchair some of the time.

Level 3 - typically suitable for a person who depends on the use of a wheelchair and transfers unaided to and from the wheelchair in a seated position.

Level 4 - typically suitable for a person who depends on the use of a wheelchair in a seated position. They can require personal/mechanical assistance to aid transfer (eg: carer, hoist).

Caring for your safety

Although we do not own or manage any of the properties shown on our website or in our brochure, as part of our Safety First Policy, we do our best to ensure that owners take the safety and wellbeing of all our holidaymakers very seriously and that their properties are well maintained for your comfort and safety.

Nevertheless, please remember that when you stay in unfamiliar surroundings, you must take special care of yourself and your family.

In particular:

  • Check the layout of your holiday property so that in an emergency you can get out quickly and easily.
  • Check for a fire extinguisher and fire blanket, and read the instructions on their use.
  • If the property has open fires or wood burning stoves, make sure you use the fireguard, keep children and pets under close supervision and ensure that the fire is safely out before you go to bed.
  • If you are unsure of how to use any electrical appliances, please ask the owner or caretaker.
  • If your property has night storage heaters, these must never be covered.
  • Take special care when moving around the property at night.
  • Cots and highchairs must conform to local national standards. If they are damaged or deficient in any way, then tell the owner.
  • Look out for glass patio doors or glazed interior doors - they should have stickers at adult and child eye height.
  • Keep young children off balconies.
  • If there is a garden pond or other water features, ensure that children or anyone at risk cannot access it. Look for any steep drops or steps in the garden, and if there are garden sheds or outbuildings, ensure that children or anyone at risk cannot get into them.
  • Equipment in childrens' playgrounds should be safe and in good condition. The surface of the play area should be soft, ie: sand, soft earth or wood chippings. You should satisfy yourself that the equipment is safe and in good condition before use. Children should be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
  • All activities during your holiday are undertaken at your own risk.

Take special note of the following:

Swimming pools

Unless otherwise indicated in the property description, outdoor swimming pools are not usually available outside the main summer period (normally end-May to mid-September for properties in France and Italy, end-March to early October for properties in Spain and Portugal, and mid-June to mid-September for properties in Croatia). If your holiday is before June or after August, please check opening times before booking. Outdoor pools are not usually heated, unless indicated in the property description. Pools are regularly maintained but unusual climatic changes can affect the chemical balance, which often results in the water becoming discoloured or cloudy. The owner or caretaker should be contacted in these circumstances and a period of time - at least 24 hours in most cases - allowed for rectification.

Please also follow the safety information below -

  • Swimming pools are used at your own risk and there are no lifeguards on duty.
  • Do not dive into the pool.
  • Check which end is shallow and which end is deep.
  • Check the location of life belts and other buoyancy equipment and read the instructions on how to use them.
  • Do not swim or go into the pool under the influence of alcohol or immediately after eating a meal.
  • Do not take breakable glasses or other utensils into the pool area.
  • Do not swim at night or when the pool is closed.
  • Always supervise children or anyone who may be at risk.

Gas appliances

  • Gas appliances in UK properties, by law, have to be installed and maintained by CORGI registered engineers, and the owner should be able to provide a copy of the service certificate on request. If you have any doubts about the efficient operation of any gas appliance, particularly boilers or hot water heaters, in your property, alert the owner immediately.
  • Gas cookers and fires - as you would at home, ensure that gas cookers and fires are turned off after use, and in particular, check this before you go to bed. When a gas fire is on, children should be supervised at all times.

If you have any concerns about the safety of your property, whether it be the garden, the equipment or the facilities, then please tell the owner or caretaker immediately.

We want you to have a safe and happy holiday - a few minutes taking some simple precautions could make the difference between a holiday enjoyed and a holiday spoiled.

Use of boats and other activity equipment

Some properties may have use of a boat or other activity equipment such as trampolines, swings, climbing frames and sporting equipment. You will find details of such equipment in the brochure description. Please note that any activity equipment is provided directly to you by the owner and does not form part of your contract with us. Use of such equipment is at the property owner's discretion, and liability for availability and condition rests solely with the owner. It is your responsibility to (i) ensure that you are familiar with the operation of the equipment, (ii) satisfy yourself that the equipment is safe to use, (iii) to use the equipment responsibly, and (iv) to supervise children using the equipment at all times.

Driving

Laws, licensing requirements and age limits vary overseas. Please make sure you are familiar with the driving requirements of the country you are visiting.

Dissatisfaction

We work very hard with all property owners to ensure that you will have an enjoyable holiday. However, in the unlikely event that you are dissatisfied with your accommodation, then it is very important that you register this straight away with the owner or caretaker and do not wait until you return home, when the chance of actively helping you has passed. Even if you think nothing could be done to make your situation better, you must say something while you are on holiday. Please see our Booking Conditions for further information on our complaints procedure.

Protecting your holiday environment

The properties featured on our website or in our brochure are set in some of the loveliest parts of the country, so naturally we are interested in anything we can do to help preserve the environment. Even our brochures are printed on paper made from trees which are grown commercially as a renewable resource - and two trees are planted for every one felled. You can help too, by respecting the area you visit and remember the following points:

Please:

  • Don't litter
  • Don't waste energy and water
  • Guard against fire
  • Respect the rights of land and property owners
  • Protect local wildlife
  • Follow the Countryside Code

Book with confidence with us

When you book your holiday the last thing you want to think about is what would happen if you found yourself unable to go. But mishaps do happen, and that's why having cancellation protection is so important.

For holidays in the UK, our commitment to giving you the very best service means our standard Booking Conditions now allow you to cancel your holiday for a wide range of unavoidable reasons and obtain a full refund - and you don't even need to take out additional cancellation insurance. You'll find full details in our Booking Conditions - a policy which few other holiday cottage companies can match.

For holidays overseas, it is a condition of booking that you must have personal travel insurance. You can choose the cover we recommend (which includes cancellation protection) or you can provide details of your own policy which must provide at least equal benefits.

Customer Satisfaction…all the way

We are committed to providing quality holidays and that's why we ask our holidaymakers to complete a customer satisfaction questionnaire on their return. Your comments and suggestions provide valuable information on how we can further improve our holidays. Please take the time to fill in your questionnaire - we value your opinions.

Travelling from Outside Europe

If you are travelling from outside of Europe, here is a little info on what to expect from a European cottage holiday.

We'll prepare your accommodation and give you directions showing how to get there. There'll be no local representative to meet you at the airport and you'll have to find your own way there - so you'll need to hire a car.

It's all part of the European experience, and for many people it's a great excuse to spend time exploring the area and meeting the friendly locals!

When you reach your property you'll find a guide to events and places of interest, and the owner or key-holder will be close at hand if you need any help or advice.

You'll find that we do things differently in Europe, we speak a different language - even our English can be strange. So, to help you translate any unfamiliar terms, phrases or local descriptions you might find on our website, we've included a useful glossary of terms.

Inside the cottage

Shared utility room with £1 operated washing machine Coin - operated washing machines/driers may be shared with other cottages
Woodburner Wood burning stove (for heat, not cooking)
Gas/electric shower over Shower over the bath (not in a booth)
Oil central heating A central heating system run on light fuel (provided)
Open fire Real fire burning wood or coal
CTV 5 terrestrial channels (no cable) satellite and cable may be available (where stated)
Fridge freezer Refrigerator and icebox
Taps Faucet
Breakfast bar Dining area usually in the kitchen
Hall Corridor
Linen Bed linen provided (but no towels)
Solid fuel central heating Central heating run on highefficiency fuel 'beans' (provided)

In many properties in Britain and Ireland, water fills in a tank in the roof and you will need to throw a switch called the emersion heater to heat the water. Once full tank is used, you will have to wait for the tank to fill and heat again.

Outside the cottage

Shop Local store
Terrace/Patio Sundeck
Terrace House or Terrace Cottage Part of a terrace House in a row (joined both sides to others)
National Trust National Conservation organisation quiet areas of beauty or historic/environmental significance
Garden Yard
Pub / Public House Bar
Blue Flag beach Recognised clean and safe beach
Market Outside stalls (ie. not supermarket)

Abbreviations used in the property descriptions

ETB English Tourist Board
CH Central heating
FGCH Full gas central heating
OFCH Oil fired central heating
Auto wm Washing machine
PO Post office
CTV Colour television
POA Payable on arrival
INC Included in rent

A more detailed list of abbreviations can be found within the help section of this site.

Low deposit only £25

1. These terms and conditions should be read with the Booking Conditions and insurance information in our brochures or on our website. Especially note Sections 2, 4 and 7 of the Booking Conditions
2. Offer applies only to bookings for 2014 which are booked before 13th April 2014.
3. The low deposit payable under this offer is £25.
4. Does not apply to properties that sleep 10 or more.
5. The difference between the £25 low deposit and the usual deposit shown in our main brochure or website is payable with the balance payment, which we must receive no later than 8 weeks before your booking starts, or at the time of cancellation if you cancel your booking. This payment will include all applicable charges as detailed on your booking confirmation, including any insurance premiums and any Ferry costs. If payment is not received in full on time, we can treat your booking as cancelled by you for a non-refundable reason. If this happens, you will be responsible for cancellation charges (as shown in our main brochure or our website) including any deferred Booking Fee, Personal Travel Insurance and Ferry crossings that you have chosen to buy, all of which must be paid immediately..
6. Not available with any other offer except offers featured in our main brochure.
7. Depending on popularity and property availability, this offer may be extended or withdrawn.